Get More Smarter on Friday (September 30)

Get More SmarterDid anybody happen to catch the month of September? Apparently, it’s already over. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The re-election campaign of Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is coming unglued with just a few weeks left until ballots drop in Colorado. Both Coffman and his counterparts at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) are getting throttled by media fact-checkers for a series of negative ads against Democrat Morgan Carroll that would need to improve just to be labeled a “half-truth.”

How did Coffman’s campaign respond to three straight troublesome fact-check stories? Like you might expect, saying this is “why no one takes fact checks seriously.” Perhaps a Coffman spokesperson was misquoted; they probably meant to say, “We don’t take facts seriously.”

 

► Donald Trump should probably take a break from Twitter. Or, better yet, maybe he should just stop trashing a former Miss America contestant for being overweight. From Politico:

While Hillary Clinton is riding high after the first presidential debate, Donald Trump is jumping down into the gutter.

In the wee hours of Friday morning, the impulse-control-deficient Republican nominee let loose a torrent of tweets, calling former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado “disgusting” and accusing her of having a sex tape.

Trump may or may not win the Presidency, but he’s going to make damn sure to offend everyone in America before he’s finished campaigning. Even some of Trump’s campaign staffers can’t take it anymore.

 

► This has been a pretty awful week for Donald Trump, as the Washington Post explains:

The narrative that the race was tightening, and that the GOP nominee could really win, had taken hold going into Monday night. The days since have brought a stream of reality checks, as Trump’s preternatural unwillingness to ever admit he was wrong keeps him on the defensive. Since the first 20 minutes of the debate, when he was most on message, the national conversation has been all about issues that are unhelpful to his cause.

In a campaign where Trump’s charisma helped him rise to the top, his inability to resist picking on people—no matter how small or insignificant—is his Achilles heel. And by taking the bait, Trump lunged right into Hillary Clinton’s “artfully designed trap.”…

…Whether or not Trump wilted under the bright lights of the Hofstra stage, with 86 million watching, his messy messaging afterwards has only made things worse. First he blamed a faulty mic. Then he started declaring himself a “landslide” winner. But the attacks on Alicia Machado, in particular, cement his image as a schoolyard bully to undecided voters and reinforce concerns among GOP elites that he cannot avoid picking unwinnable fights. “It is a beauty contest,” Trump said on Fox News, offering the latest excuse for his misogynistic fat-shaming. “You know, I mean, say what you want, Bill (O’Reilly), I mean, they know what they’re getting into. It’s a beauty contest!”

Trump will try to get back on track next week with campaign stops in Colorado. Trump will appear at events in Loveland and Pueblo on Monday. The GOP Presidential candidate is scheduled to speak in Pueblo at 3:00 pm before an appearance in Loveland optimistically-set for “around 5:00 or 6:00 pm.”

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 27)

Get More SmarterHappy National Voter Registration Day! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The first Presidential debate of the 2016 General Election is in the books. After 90 minutes of debating at Hofstra University in New York on Monday, Democrat Hillary Clinton was the clear winner over Republican Donald Trump. We live-blogged Monday’s debate, so click here to check out the blow-by-blow action.

If you’re looking for more reaction from last night’s debate, most pundits agreed that Clinton walloped Trump. As the Washington Post reports, Trump is already making excuses for a terrible performance:

The consensus that Donald Trump badly lost the first debate gelled overnight. Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance on Long Island, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around.

Trump’s surrogates in the spin room were downbeat, and the candidate himself has already begun making excuses: “They gave me a defective mic,” he complained to reporters during a gaggle. “Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room. I wonder, was that on purpose?” There was no clear problem with his microphone during the debate, Jose DelReal notes.

The only problem with Trump’s microphone on Monday was that it kept amplifying Trump’s actual words. For more on the debate, just use the Google; reaction is not difficult to find. You can also check out Politico’s five takeaways from Monday evening. The Associated Press also fact-checked some of the more notable comments from the debate.

Trump’s “stamina” attacks on Clinton fell flat on Monday in part because His Hairness was dealing with case of the sniffles.

 

► Aurora Democrat Morgan Carroll continues to hit hard at Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. Carroll’s latest TV ad ties Coffman to Trump with some very effective examples.

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (September 26)

Get More SmarterApparently there is some sort of Presidential debate taking place tonight. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump is going down! If you don’t have cable TV, you’ll likely be watching the first Presidential debate because you won’t have much of a choice in the matter; the 90-minute, commercial-free battle will be carried live from Hofstra University in New York by every major television network in the country. First pitch argument is scheduled for 7:00 pm Mountain Time. Tonight’s debate is widely expected to be among the most-watched television events in American history, as CNBC explains:

With estimates of up to 106 million tuning into Monday night’s debate, the first faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may be one of the most watched presidential debates. Thanks to live streaming, it’s also going to be the most widely available ever.

ABCCBSCNN, C-SPAN, FoxNBC and MSNBC will be broadcasting the debate on TV, while several others have announced plans to stream it online through various social media platforms. Facebook and ABC have announced a partnership, Twitter will run Bloomberg’s feed and YouTube said it will be showcasing feeds from Telemundo, PBS and The Washington Post.

Prior to tonight, the most-watched Presidential debate in history occurred in 1980, when 80.6 million people tuned in to watch Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan. The most-watched television event in American history was Super Bowl XLIX (49) in 2015, when 114 million viewers tuned in to see the game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

Meanwhile, debate previews are as prevalent as online porn today. Here’s a short list: The New York Times, the Washington Post, “The Fix,” CBS News, NBC News, and PoliticoAs then-Presidential candidate George W. Bush once lamented, Trump seems to be entering tonight’s debate behind “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

We’ll also be live-blogging the festivities tonight here at Colorado Pols.

 

► No, it’s not just you: False statements and flat-out lies seem to be more common in Colorado politics than ever before. In CD-6, Democrat Morgan Carroll is being attacked for opposing legislation that she actually supported.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is cashing in every last chit he owns in an attempt to stave off Carroll as we enter the final six weeks of the campaign. Carroll reportedly told Arapahoe County Democrats over the weekend that internal polling shows her with a 5-point lead over Coffman…a claim that Coffman’s campaign angrily denounced as a “lie.”

 

► Presidential campaigns use lots of different surrogates to spread their message at this point in the race, but we can’t envision a scenario whereby it would be beneficial to have former Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt stumping on your behalf less than a year after he was recalled by Jeffco voters. Remember, Witt did an absolutely terrible job while campaigning for himself last fall.

 

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Under-the-Radar Race Gets TV Coverage Because… It’s So Important!

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you’re paying attention to politics in Colorado, you know that few people have any clue about the most important political contest in the state: the state senate race in Arvada/Westminster, where Republican Laura Woods is battling Democrat Rachel Zenzinger.

But the importance of the race apparently isn’t a good enough news hook for many reporters to give it the coverage it deserves, which is a lot.

So Fox 31 Denver’s Joe St. George gets our collective thanks for assembling a TV story about, as he labeled it, the state senate race in Arvada that could be “the most important race you’re not watching.” That was his hook! How great is that?

“At first glance this race doesn’t look very important,” says St. George in his piece, showing Woods and Zenzinger knocking on doors. “…the most important race you likely haven’t talked about….if Zenzinger wins this re-match, Dems may be in complete control [of state government]….

“While this race dominates the headlines,” narrates St. George, flashing images of Clinton and Trump. “This one in Arvada may end up impacting your life more come next year.”

Political insiders know this, yet coverage of the state’s most important race remains spotty (unless you get behind the paywall of the Colorado Statesman–or read the Colorado Independent), so few people know about it, much less where the candidates stand on the issues. St. George provided a bit of this info on the KDVR Fox 31 Denver website, listing, among others, these comparisons of the two candidates.

St. George reported:

In terms of the issues:

Abortion
Woods: Pro-life
Zenzinger: Pro-choice

Gun control
Woods: Against
Zenzinger: Supports common sense measures

Minimum wage increase
Woods: Against
Zenzinger: Supports

(For background, Woods is against all abortion, even for rape and incest, and, on guns, she’s against all criminal background checks prior to gun purchases.)

As we get closer to the election, more reporters will almost certainly inform voters just how important this race is. Good to see St. George leading the way.

Randy “The Stache” Baumgardner’s Got Some ‘Splaining To Do

Randy Baumgardner.

Randy Baumgardner.

UPDATE: David O. Williams updates his story with another document that directly contradicts Baumgardner’s own statement that “I don’t know anything about that.”

And documents obtained in the CORA request also show the senator does know about the incidents in question: baumgardner-sand-release-april-2015(pdf).

—–

Freelance journalist David O. Williams has a new story out today that could spell trouble for Colorado’s “Capital Cowboy,” state Sen. Randy Baumgardner–who has allegedly been beating the high cost of living by misusing state property for his personal needs:

In a recent interview with the Rocky Mountain Post, [Democratic opponent Emily] Tracy accused Baumgardner of ignoring constituents, violating the public trust and playing politics over critical economic and safety issues such as highway funding. She was particularly pointed over revelations the senator may have use state property for personal gain while working for the highway department.

“It’s a violation of public trust,” Tracy said. “It’s public money. It’s taxpayer’s hard-earned money that goes to funding all of this. It just shouldn’t be misused.”

The Rocky Mountain Post obtained the results of a Colorado Open Records Act request filed with the Colorado Department of Transportation last spring revealing that Randy and Lori Baumgardner were involved in three different incidents of personal use of state property.

Randy Baumgardner worked for the state highway department for 11 years starting in 2000, and his wife Lori still works for CDOT. Lori Baumgardner received multiple Performance Documentation Forms for incidents that also involved her husband, including the improper use of a fuel card PIN number in 2009, using CDOT sand on their ranch in 2014, and earlier this year using CDOT office photocopy machines to duplicate their tax returns.

Baumgardner’s response to these questions…is not good:

“I don’t know anything about any of that,” Randy Baumgardner told the Rocky Mountain Post. “I’m not addressing any of that. Like I said, you can make out of that whatever you want to. I don’t know. I’ve not worked for them since 2011. [Lori] still works for them. I’m not going to get into the weeds on that.”

CDOT officials would not comment on the CORA findings, citing personnel reasons, but officials did verify the results of the records request, which included emails from supervisors who were very concerned about the misuse of state property by the Baumgardners. [Pols emphasis]

It’s of course extremely unlikely that Baumgardner doesn’t know about these incidents, which left a paper trail of emails that prove it was a known problem within the Colorado Department of Transportation. Any appropriation of government resources for personal use by a government employee is unacceptable, and it’s naturally worse when that government employee also happens to be a sitting state lawmaker.

We’ll have to see how this story develops–but if you’re looking for the type of scandal that might actually cost a quasi-safe legislator their seat with elections only a few weeks away, we’d say this could fit the bill.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 22)

Get More SmarterHappy “Autumnal Equinox,” everybody! Try saying “Autumnal Equinox” three times fast. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Last week some polls showed Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump apparently gaining momentum on Democrat Hillary Clinton. This week, it seems, that narrative is no longer accurate. A new poll from Colorado Mesa University and Rocky Mountain PBS shows Clinton with a 44-35 lead over Trump in Colorado — right about where Clinton had been polling prior to last week’s outlier results.

 

► Opponents of Obamacare in Colorado are unabashedly cheering the news that health insurance premiums are expected to rise in 2017, but that’s only a piece of the story. Insurance premiums are not rising 20% across-the-board, as Charles Ashby notes for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

 

► Republican State Senator Randy Baumgardner is running into some trouble as he campaigns for re-election. As journalist David O. Williams reports, Baumgardner is having trouble answering questions about repeated instances of using state resources for his own benefit through the Colorado Department of Transportation:

The Rocky Mountain Post obtained the results of a Colorado Open Records Act request filed with the Colorado Department of Transportation last spring revealing that Randy and Lori Baumgardner were involved in three different incidents of personal use of state property.

Randy Baumgardner worked for the state highway department for 11 years starting in 2000, and his wife Lori still works for CDOT. Lori Baumgardner received multiple Performance Documentation Forms for incidents that also involved her husband, including the improper use of a fuel card PIN number in 2009, using CDOT sand on their ranch in 2014, and earlier this year using CDOT office photocopy machines to duplicate their tax returns.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 21)

Dad says to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Dad says to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Enjoy the last day of summer before the Autumnal Equinox. We really just wanted to write the phrase, “Autumnal Equinox.” It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Issues of race relations and police brutality continue to boil across the country. As the Washington Post reports:

A riot in North Carolina overnight is a fitting bookend to three months of heightened tensions between the police and the people. From Louisiana to Minnesota to Texas, a host of incidents have again and again put racial tensions back on the front burner of the presidential campaign. They’ve also inspired the national anthem protests that have roiled the National Football League.

The killings of unarmed black men at the hands of police and the murders of cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge did not lead to a period of national healing or sustained soul searching.

The stories might have disappeared from the front pages, but the incidents have continued. Temporarily-bandaged wounds are re-opening around the country this week, as frustrations boil over.

Tuesday’s riot in Charlotte came after a police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott while responding to an incident that was completely unrelated to the victim.

 

► The campaign for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is responding to new allegations that Trump uses funds from the “Trump Foundation” to pay for personal or business-related expenses. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix,” that response isn’t working particularly well:

On Tuesday morning, the Washington Post published a story headlined: “Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems.” Written by David Fahrenthold, who has written extensively about the Trump Foundation, the piece details how Trump directed more than $250,000 of the charity’s money to help pay fees related to his businesses. Those payments could qualify as “self-dealing” and violate laws governing how the leaders of non-profit organizations can use the money they receive in donations .

On Tuesday night, Trump communications director Jason Miller issued a statement disputing David’s reporting. Sort of. Actually not really…

…And then there is the name-calling — the assertion that Dave is a “biased reporter” who is intentionally misleading the public to distract from the problems with the Clinton Foundation. “Bias” is a nasty word tossed around all took often these days about reporters — almost always with too little and, by that I mean no, proof of the claim. A reporter isn’t biased because you don’t like the facts he or she has uncovered or those facts don’t comport with your broader vision of this race.

 

► Here come the Trumpians! Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is sending his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as the featured guest at a Denver-area fundraiser for the candidate today. On Thursday, Donald Trump, Jr. will talk “sportsmen’s issues” on the Western Slope, and Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence will make (another) stop in Colorado Springs. Trump himself was just in Colorado Springs on Saturday.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Will Former Jeffco School Board Member Williams Help Sink Woods?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Recalled Jeffco school board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk, Julie Williams (WNW).

Recalled Jeffco school board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk, Julie Williams (WNW).

Last year’s recall of Jefferson County school board member Julie Williams is widely considered a huge factor in this year’s Arvada/Westminster state senate race that will likely determine whether Republicans retain control of the state senate.

Jefferson Country voters threw out Tea Party conservatives on their school board, with special ire directed at Williams, who was denounced by both sides. Even Dave Kopel, a researcher at the conservative Independence Institute, said Williams had a lot of “foolish” ideas.

The Jeffco vote was overwhelming, with 60 percent favoring the recall, and analysts believe the voters’ anger may carry over to Jeffco candidates aligned with Williams.

Sen. Laura Woods (R).

Sen. Laura Woods (R).

Williams has ties to Republican State Senator Laura Woods, who’s defending the Arvada/Westminster Senate District 19 seat against Democratic challenger Rachel Zenzinger.

State Sen. Tim Neville is Williams’ brother-in-law, and Neville is connected to Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which heavily backed Woods’ upset victory in 2014. Woods backed Neville’s failed U.S. Senate bide earlier this year. And Woods and Neville have overlapping connections to other Republican operatives.

Williams makes no secret of her support for Woods, and Woods, who doesn’t return my calls, has apparently accepted Williams’ backing, which makes sense since Woods and Williams align in their support for Trump and guns, among other links.

Here’s Williams’ Sept. 17 Facebook post, obtained from a source, endorsing Woods:

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State senator shares video showing shady, ugly guns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado State Sen. Randy Baumgardnbaumgardner-gun-video-9-19-2016er has apparently removed a video, which he’d shared on his Facebook page, showing a man frantically firing weapons (apparently a sawed-off shotgun and fully automatic rifles and pistols) that are shady or, at worst, illegal under federal and state laws), unless you work the loopholes.

Banned high capacity magaizes are also shown in the video, which you can see here.

Baumgardner is glorifying some of the weapons and magazines used in the two worst gun massacres in Colorado history.

Maybe this occurred to him, because Baumgardner apparently removed the video, called a “Case of Mayhem,” sometime after he shared it over the weekend.

A call to Baumbgardner’s office confirming that he shared the video and seeking his reason for posting it, and an explanation for his taking it down, was not immediately returned.

The Moffat County Republican, whose Twitter handle is CapitalCowboy, is part of GOP State Senate leadership.

Conservationists Launch Big Campaign Against Laura Woods

Sen. Laura Woods (R).

Sen. Laura Woods (R).

Remember last weekend when we noted with no small amount of surprise a new ad campaign from far-right GOP Sen. Laura Waters Woods of Arvada, in which she claimed with (literally) no factual basis that she has “consistently supported public lands?”

It looks like that was a bigger mistake than even we imagined. A press release from Conservation Colorado today:

Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental organization, today announced that it will be making an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Jefferson County’s Senate District 19 to educate voters about incumbent Senator Laura Woods’ dismal record on protecting Colorado’s open spaces, public lands, and way of life before they cast their votes this fall. The campaign spending will come in the form of mailers, digital ads, and canvassers.

Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado, stated:

“When it comes to protecting our open spaces and landscapes, Laura Woods is flat out wrong. She is trying to convince voters that she supports protecting our public lands. But the reality is that she has repeatedly thrown her weight behind Cliven Bundy-style efforts to turn our lands over to private interests, which could make it easier for them to be split up and sold off to out-of-state oil companies. Woods is not being straight with her constituents; her voting record is out of touch with our values as people who enjoy all that our amazing state has to offer. Former Senator Rachel Zenzinger, on the other hand, understands that the outdoors are part of our Colorado way of life and must be protected for future generations. Zenzinger will once again represent the citizens of Arvada and Jefferson County well in the state Senate in 2017.”

John Gale, a hunter and angler from SD-19, echoed:

“Sportsmen and women in Colorado know that our wild public lands and waters support the most robust populations of fish and wildlife we have. They provide quality access to every American for hunting and fishing and other recreational opportunities. But Laura Woods has let hunters and anglers in our district down by aligning with special interests operating on the fringes of popular opinion to comprise our outdoor heritage and take away western traditions like hunting and fishing that mean so much to our families. I urge sportsmen and women to cast their vote for someone who supports their values– and that person is not Laura Woods.”

Woods recently has been scrambling to defend herself on public lands by paying to promote ads on social media touting her “solid” voting record on the issue, despite offering absolutely no proof for her claims. In fact, she has voted the wrong way on every single bill that would protect public lands that Conservation Colorado has scored in its annual scorecard since she has been in office (for reference, here are the 2016 and 2015 scorecards).

Hunters, hikers, families, and everyone in SD-19 who enjoys the outdoors deserve to know what, exactly, Woods believes is her “solid” record on protecting our lands when all of the evidence points to the contrary.

As the state’s most competitive state senate race, SD-19 was always going to get a lot of attention from both sides. With that said, Woods did herself no favors by trying to claim without even an attempt to factually demonstrate that she is a supporter of public lands. If anything, Woods’ far-out right wing politics put her much closer to the Cliven Bundy “sagebrush rebel” side of the public lands debate: that is, so far from the position of true conservationists it’s simply laughable.

Or it should be. As it stands now, conservationists will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to set the record straight with the voters in Sen. Woods’ district. And that’s no laughing matter. If there’s an upside, it’s that Woods has given conservationists a wealth of material to work with.

And enough to be highly motivated to see her defeated.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 14)

Get More SmarterThe 2016 election will be all over in 54 days. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado Republicans are trying to get excited about Presidential nominee Donald Trump as a new (questionable) poll shows His Hairness leading Democrat Hillary Clinton in our state. John Frank has more for the Denver Post:

Democratic strategist Rick Ridder said the polling trend is a natural phenomenon in Colorado, where party registration is evenly split and independents make it a swing state.

“Anybody who thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the state of Colorado by double digits was dreaming,” said Ridder, a veteran of six presidential campaigns. “The history in Colorado shows that it is difficult for a Democrat or a Republican to get over 50 percent of the vote.”

Meanwhile, Dan Balz of the Washington Post takes a look at Colorado trends from a national perspective:

Make no mistake. Donald Trump is a distinct underdog in Colorado. He’s hobbled by demographic realities here and by a record of statements that have alienated the very groups of voters who will be pivotal in November.

But Democrats here say it’s premature to declare that there has been a permanent shift in the politics of the state. They worry about a lack of enthusiasm for Clinton and warn against complacency born of overconfidence…

…Trump is also potentially hobbled by the absence of a competitive Senate race. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who had a tough race six years ago, appears in a strong position. His opponent, Republican Darryl Glenn, won a crowded primary, but his hard-right conservatism and lack of resources have left his campaign sputtering.

 

► Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn may very well be the worst statewide candidate in Colorado history. Molly Ball of Atlantic Monthly wonders if we should even still consider Glenn a “candidate” given his lack of movement:

Since winning the primary in June, Glenn has barely mounted a campaign, Wadhams and other Republican insiders told me. He barely speaks to the press, makes few appearances, has few staff, and has yet to run a television ad. Bennet has been on the air with gauzy positive spots touting his bipartisanship since the beginning of the year.

“All he does is go to Republican and conservative events,” Wadhams complained. The deep-red county Glenn hails from is also home to the social-conservative powerhouse Focus on the Family and five military installations, including the Air Force Academy.

 

► Donald Trump will be in Colorado Springs on Saturday evening for a campaign rally. Let’s get those elevators up and running!

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 13)

Get More SmarterThe Denver Broncos unveiled a new all-orange jersey scheme; come on, that’s exciting! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Good news for those of you who use money: The U.S. economy is doing very well. As the New York Times reports:

Household incomes for American families rose strongly in 2015, breaking a yearslong pattern of income stagnation. The median household’s income in 2015 was $56,516, an increase of 5.2 percent over the previous year — the largest one-year rise since at least 1967, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

The income gains mark an important turning point in the recovery from the 2008 recession, showing that recent economic gains are being distributed more broadly.

The economic recovery, however, remains incomplete. The median is still 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, before the recession. It also remains 2.4 percent lower than the peak reached during the boom of the late 1990s. The number of people living in poverty also remains elevated, although it shrank last year by 3.5 million, or roughly 8 percent.

Still, most economists saw the report as remarkably positive. In an exuberant tweet, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, called it “unambiguously the best” such census data “ever.” Household incomes in 2015 were higher than when President Obama entered office, and it is likely that the gains are continuing during his final year in office.

Economic data shows strong gains across several metrics, particularly among the middle class. Middle class incomes grew in 2015 at the fastest rate in modern history.

 

► The good news keeps coming. Uninsurance rates have reached a record low, as the Washington Post explains:

About 4 million Americans gained health insurance last year, decreasing the nation’s uninsured rate to 9.1 percent, the lowest level since before the Great Recession, according to new federal figures.

The figures, released Tuesday from a large annual Census Bureau survey, show that the gains were driven primarily by an expansion of coverage among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, the kind of coverage sold on the insurance exchanges that began in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

The decrease in the share of people who were uninsured slowed from the year before. Between 2013 and 2014, some 9 million people gained coverage — more than twice the increase as from 2014 to last year.

Sorry, Republicans. It looks like you may need to make some changes to those anti-Obamacare talking points.

 

► There’s big news from the Colorado Independent in one of the most competitive house districts in the state. Republican Katy Brown, who is running against Democrat Jeff Bridges in HD-3, has a deep history with the Fraternity Sorority Political Action Committee (FratPAC) that she would rather not discuss.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Randy Baumgardner Needs Help With His Twitter

UPDATE: State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg obliviously re-tweeted the image (which has since been changed by Baumgardner — or someone who understands the Internet Tubes better than Baumgardner).

—–

If you are uploading a picture to your Twitter account, it’s always a good idea to double-check the image. It’s also a good idea to not upload a screenshot from your phone unless you are pretty confident that you aren’t screen-shotting something you shouldn’t.

Or, you could just follow the example of Republican State Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who made this unfortunate Twitter error this morning:

If you aren’t sure why this is a problem, take a look at the photo after the jump…

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Laura Woods “Protects Public Lands”–Wait, What?!

We were forwarded this ad running in Arvada and Westminster’s Senate District 19 in support of Sen. Laura “Waters” Woods, hard-right Republican up for early re-election this year after narrowly winning a special election in 2014. It would be difficult to come up with a campaign advertisement that was more blatantly false than this one:

woodspubliclands

Notice how the ad has a little button that says “Learn More.” Clicking that button, or anywhere else on this Facebook ad takes you directly to the homepage of Sen. Woods’ campaign website.

The trouble is, there’s no mention of “public lands.” Not on the homepage. Not on her “issues” page. And according to Google:

woodspubliclandshaha

Not anywhere on Sen. Woods’ website.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (September 9)

Get More SmarterThe 1-0 Denver Broncos look like they found their quarterback for the (near) future. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Republicans across the country are having trouble (again) with Presidential candidate Donald Trump, this time because of the GOP nominee’s proclivity for praising one Vladimir Putin. As Politico explains:

Donald Trump’s extraordinary embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin has put his campaign on the defensive for a second straight day, coming after the Republican nominee praised the Kremlin strongman and appeared in an interview on a TV network backed by Moscow.

Trump’s warm words for Putin have raised the hackles of fellow Republicans and put his allies in the awkward position of claiming their party’s standard-bearer is not really praising the Russian leader. It has particularly alarmed the GOP’s hawkish national security wing, which hews almost universally to its longstanding view of Russia as an implacable foe of the United States.

Trump inflamed the situation Thursday evening by criticizing U.S. foreign policy during an interview broadcast on RT America, a television network owned by the Russian government that often toes the Kremlin’s line. He even dismissed U.S. officials’ concern that Russia may be seeking to disrupt the Nov. 8 election as “pretty unlikely,” though he went on to say that any such interference would be “inappropriate.” (Trump’s campaign manager said the interview was meant as a “favor” to host Larry King, whose show is syndicated and broadcast on RT.)

If we’ve learned anything from 1980s action movies, no American wants to be seen cozying up to the Russians. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix,” Trump’s political love affair with Putin may be the last best chance for Republicans to walk away from the GOP nominee:

It’s a totally inexplicable position for the Republican nominee to take.  Hell, it’s an inexplicable position for any politician in either party running for any office to take.  You can tell that in the tortured ways in which Trump’s backers within the GOP are trying to deal with his bromance with the Russian leader…

…This is not an issue in which Republicans can retreat behind the old Trump’s-the-nominee argument.  Trump isn’t speaking for the vast majority — or even a healthy minority — of voters within the Republican party. Backing a candidate who repeatedly flirts with Russia and its leader is not the sort of thing that you can just write off to being a good soldier for the party in the post-election analysis.

If you are a Republican elected official considering whether to jump off the Trump train, it’s now-or-never time.  You go along with Trump’s views on Putin’s Russia and you don’t get to run away from him if he goes down in flames over the next 60 days.

Colorado Republicans such as Rep. Mike Coffman and state Sen. Laura Waters Woods have missed their exit on Trump before…will they take this final off-ramp?

 

► Colorado House Democrats continue to significantly outraise their Republican counterparts, according to the latest campaign finance reports. 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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